Build Tampa’s First Hackerspace Update #2

What do you do? It’s a question we get all the time. Here’s a look at a couple of the things that we do at one of our Open Make nights.

One of the first stops for visitors is our 3D printer. A couple members are working on getting better and better prints – something we’re learning isn’t a simple process. They run test prints with different settings and keep working out guidelines for people to get the best results depending on what they’re printing. There’s a steady stream of visitors learning about 3D printing in general and lots of interest in purchasing 3D printers at home. We’ve recently set up a bit of a “lunch and learn” for 3D printer owners and are happy to see that grow into a regular event to get people together to learn from each others experiences.

In the back of the room, work is beginning on two of our green technology projects: an aquaponics system and an algae bioreactor. Members drill PVC pipe fittings and thread in brass fittings. Soon they’ll be mounting clear tubes and working on the racks to hold everything.

One of our work tables has become the quadcopter table. Two members work on assembling their own quadcopters and there are also 3 Parrot AR.Drone models undergoing a bit of upkeep to keep flying.

On the other side of the room, a new visitor is showing people his Raspberry Pi project. It’s an alarm clock with a LCD display and a GPS receiver. Using the Raspberry Pi, it can pull calendar information from the internet for display and can use the GPS receiver to set the most accurate time. This eventually turns into a discussion about the different things members use Raspberry Pi computers for.

Next to him, a pair of members work on the new version of the hackerspace website. They just completed consolidating multiple sites and moving to a new WordPress theme. Now they’re looking at building a gamification-based skill database and class tracking system to award online badges to members.

In a corner, one member is showing off his software-defined radio project. He’s working on building a working transceiver based on the cheap DVB-T tv tuner dongle and is preparing to teach an upcoming class.

Nearby a couple other members try out our new vacuum former. It heats up plastic sheeting and uses vacuum and air pressure to mold plastic around models and other shapes. Tonight we tried it out by forming a new body shell for one of our smaller quadcopters. We’re already making plans to build a large model.

All over the room there’s the most important activity of the night: new visitors seeing what people are working on and sharing the projects that they are working on. Each connection starts with that same simple question.

So what do you do?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>